Florida Keys Arts
The Keys are known for sunshine, fishing, scuba, and the coral reef. If you visit, you’ll discover there’s even more to like, including a whole network of local artists whose works embody the leisurely lifestyle of the Keys. Painters, sculptors, weavers, musicians, and performers live in all the remote corners of the Florida Keys, but you’ll find them showing their work or performing mostly in Key West.
Paintings & Sculpture
Duval Street, the hub of activity for tourists in Key West, used to be lined with Galleries, and there are still quite a few here. But with rising rents many of the galleries have moved off Duval and into the surrounding neighborhoods. Strolling or cruising on your bicycle through Old Town, you’ll be delighted to find hidden galleries in the most unexpected spots, appearing without fanfare or warning.
Inside the galleries of Key West you’ll discover paintings with themes of local life, such as roosters & chickens. The Key West chicken is one of the most popular symbols of Key West, and artists find the majestic wild roosters to be excellent subjects. There are fabulous renditions of chicken and roosters on everything from mugs to tiles to wall-sized paintings. Besides palm trees, flamingos, the beach, pirates and seashells, artists employ other locally-inspired themes such as all things Cuban, Duval Street, herons and other local wildlife, and scenes of Fantasy Fest and other celebrations that take place in Key West. There are all sorts of sculptures you can purchese to place in your home, and many of the fine homes in the Keys are full of local work done by sculptors working right here in the Florida Keys. In fact, many interior decorators and homeowners make it a point to use local work when renovating a home. There’s the Haitian Art Company in Key West, full of voodoo bottles, spirit flags, and brightly colored things. There’s also the Island Arts co-op in Key West, located on Duval Street. Check out a smorgasboard of local art here. There’s a Pottery shop on Whitehead Street selling stoneware and porcelain items.
Vintage Items & Antiques
There are junk shops, antique stores, flea markets and vintage shops all over the Florida Keys. Some offer terrible dusty junk and other offer secret valuable items just waiting to be discovered by the careful looker. Some stores have themes to their antiques and vintage items, like nautical items or the Key West Chicken.
Key West’s Red Barn Theatre offers live comedy, drama, musical theater, and cabaret shows in its cozy 88-seat space, located right on Duval Street near Mallory Square. They have a full-service bar open before the show and during intermission, and it’s lovely because it’s a courtyard surrounded by giant trees. Performers are local, with some visiting artists in the mix as well.